Blues launches $19 Notecard XP cellular IoT module and Notecarrier XP series carrier board

Blues has recently released the latest entry to its Notecard family, the Notecard XP (External Power supply), an updated and more cost-effective version of its existing Notecard Cellular. This new model reduces costs by not including certain components, such as SIM switching hardware, an embedded SIM with a data plan, and conformal coating while retaining all key features and functionalities. These include an Arm Cortex-M4 microcontroller, a three-axis accelerometer, a temperature sensor, and a secure element. Additionally, they have also removed the radio power supply to reduce costs further, bringing the price down to just $19.

Alongside this release, Blues has also introduced a new “midband” LTE Cat 1 bis Notecard Cellular model, which features a single antenna design making it more compact and economical.

In February this year we have seen Blues announced the Blues Starnote IoT Module, along with the Notecarrier A, B, F, and Pi series of carrier boards, the new Notecard XP will not be compatible with the carrier boards and you have to purchase the Notecarrier XP separately.

Blues $19 Notecard XP

Notecard XP key specifications

  • MCU – Arm Cortex-M4 with 2MB flash
  • Connectivity options
    • Wideband: LTE Cat-1 available for North America.
    • Midband: LTE Cat-1 bis for both North America and EMEA.
    • Narrowband: LTE-M, NB-IoT options for North America and global use.
    • Integrated GPS/GNSS
    • External SIM Required – Does not include an embedded SIM; external SIM slot provided by Notecarrier XP.
  • Sensors – Temperature Sensor and accelerometer.
  • Serial/I2C Connectivity – Option to connect via Serial or I2C interfaces.
  • Secure Element – Integrated with a factory-installed ECC P-384 certificate for enhanced security.
  • Power Efficiency – Designed for battery operation, maintaining low power consumption (less than 8µA @ 5V when idle).
  • Dimensions – 35 x 30mm
  • Companion Requirement  Requires the Notecarrier XP for full functionality; not compatible with other Notecarrier models.

Notecard XP Design Changes

The company claims that the Notecard XP is designed so that custom hardware manufacturers can easily integrate the module directly into their PCBs to optimize BOM costs, ideal for large-scale deployments. It’s also field-upgradable, meaning if there’s a need for upgrades in the future of the product’s life cycle the process will be straightforward. In the module, essential hardware like GPS and accelerometers are included, while the companion Notecarrier XP provides an external power supply and SIM slot functionality.

Notecarrier X Series
The company calls it Notecarrier XP but the Image shows Notecarrier-F

Currently, more details about the Notecarrier XP are unavailable, and the company has not yet provided a specific product page for the carrier board. However, a quick Google search directed me to what I think is a yet-to-be-developed products page, which offers minimal details about the board. It appears that they might be adapting the F series boards to be compatible with the XP series, hence the use of the F series board images as placeholders. If this assumption holds true, the final kit will likely resemble the image shown above.

On the software side of things, the Notecard XP features a JSON-based API that simplifies the complexity of device-to-cloud communication. This API allows sending data to the cloud quickly and easily with minimal coding requirements. The board is well designed to work with Notehub, meaning it can work with major cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, and GCP. Plus, the device’s field-upgradability via software ensures it can stay current with the latest security protocols and network standards.

The company has announced that the new boards will be available for purchase later this summer for $19 through the Blues website. However, a quick search landed me on their store page where the Notecard XP is currently listed at $33.00. Those interested in buying the Notecard XP can join the waitlist now, you will get notified when the product is available.

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